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  • Press Release

UL Standards Publishes First Joint Canada-US National Standards Adoptions for Canada and the US Simultaneously

January 25, 2016

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan. 25, 2016 — Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a global safety science leader and standards developer is pleased to announce the publication of its first two joint Canada-US standards approved as National  Adoptions of Canada (NAC) by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), and American National Standards (ANS) by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The publication of ANSI/CAN/UL 12402-5, Standard for Personal Flotation Devices – Part 5: Buoyancy Aids (Level 50) – Safety Requirements, and ANSI/CAN/UL 12402-9, Standard for Personal Flotation Devices – Part 9: Test Methods, each illustrate the ground-breaking achievement of adopting ISO standards for Canada and the US simultaneously using a single consensus body and publishing a single document for use in both countries. The binational Standards Technical Panel (STP) serving as the consensus body for these efforts is comprised of key stakeholders from Canada and the US, including the US Coast Guard and Transport Canada, along with international participants.

"The US Coast Guard is proud to have participated in the development of these groundbreaking joint Canada-US standards," said Brandi Baldwin, Chief of the US Coast Guard Lifesaving & Fire Safety Division. "Their publication marks an important step towards our goal of facilitating innovation in the area of personal flotation devices and reducing trade barriers between the US and Canada."

“Publishing joint Canada-US standards is an important step towards increasing the wearing of lifejackets,” said the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport. “The new standards will allow consumers to buy and/or use the same product in both Canada and the United States, eliminate duplication in testing and allow for greater innovation in producing life jackets, while maintaining high quality standards.”

The new standards also include a harmonized approval label and point of sale information, allowing the same product to be sold and used in both Canada and the US for the first time.

“We will finally see the single product accepted for all of North America become a reality, “ said Wayne Walters, President, Personal Floatation Device Manufacturer’s Association (PFDMA). “This new standard allows for lower buoyant, more comfortable, easier to wear devices. Once completely accepted by the governing bodies, this will open the door to a new era of innovation within the lifejacket industry.  The STP process has proven to be crucial to the development of these new standards. UL has been able to provide guidance with the harmonization of the standard and the details of the procedures required to deliver this joint Canada-US standard. The open and balanced makeup of the STP has allowed for equal and fair representation of all stakeholders.”

Benefits of the new process include a new mechanism for joint Canada-US standards development that streamlines the standards development process through a single Standards Development Organization (SDO) accredited by ANSI and SCC; eliminating duplication of efforts as compared with multiple standards developers using multiple, parallel processes to achieve harmonization.  The result is faster and increased harmonization reducing the need for additional testing and lowering manufacturing costs for industry; enabling greater innovation and market access.  Once implemented, the new standards will allow for the first time, the same lifejacket to be sold and used in both Canada and the US.

For more information please contact Maria Iafano, Director, UL Standards-Canada [email protected] .